Eataly Roma

This place is amazing but would make more sense to me in another country. It’s remarkable to get all kinds of food from all over Italy in one place, but when I’m in Rome I’d rather not spend time in a mall.

That said, they did have things I haven’t seen elsewhere, including dark-roasted coffee (roasters here have switched to medium roasts), obscure rices and flours, and 10-year-old Reggiano. Prices were competitive if not downright low, which is not what I expect from that kind of place.

It was pretty dead at around 3 on a Wednesday, but I hear it can be very crowded on the weekends.

Eataly in Rome is interesting. The demise of the old market in Testaccio and the emergence of the nearby sanitized version has left a lot of people cold. My take is that it’s more than a curiosity.

The Testaccio market was hopping when we went there, one of the best markets I’ve been to anywhere, ever. If there’s a better place in the city to buy produce, I haven’t found it.

I got gnocco fritto with capocollo thinking that for €7 it would be a little snack. Turned out to be lunch. There were eight or nine of these, I ate two before I thought to take the picture. Scalding hot and tasty.

They’ve eliminated the coffee section, now they have only a small selection next to the chocolate area. No dark-roasted coffee except in pods. It was pretty busy given that we were there right in the middle between lunch and dinner.

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Wait! Are you talking about the Eataly that Batali used to be involved with? And they actually have one in Rome? What’s the expression: like taking coals to Newcastle? I went to the one in Manhattan way back in the day and even then wasn’t bowled over. But Rome? Wow. And there were actually a lot of people there. I guess Rome like many other places is just swarming with tourists.

The original was in Italy.

Most of the customers were not tourists. There were a bunch of high school or college kids doing homework in the part where I had lunch. The selection is great, quality is optimal, prices are mostly competitive, and it’s air-conditioned.

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